Gear · Hiking Gear

What Our Boys Carry In Their Backpacks

In late 2014 I wrote a post on what our toddler & preschooler carried in their backpacks. Two years later, with now a preschooler and a school age child, their gear list has changed. It’s grownup a bit, and they can carry more now. Our boys will soon turn 5 & 7.

Sometimes they seem to have magical invisible backpacks on! (Hehehe) Which just means Mom carries a lot more. It’s usually on a short hike, where we didn’t plan on hiking.

But normally? It looks like this on most trips. Just enough!

And they even get along at times. Especially if there is to be an alpine lake to play in…..

Good gear is a must. It really saves the day when it is cold, rainy and cloudy, at 5500 feet in the Cascade Mountains. As they have gotten older it has been easier to find lighter weight gear, that works better. One advantage of children growing up. I had this same issue with their older brother, but I can also say that gear is so much easier now to find in young children sizes than it was 12 years ago!

Walker’s backpack (he is nearly 7 now and wears a size 7 to 8 in boys clothing):

In summer:

  • Sun hat
  • Sandals
  • Pack towel

Alistaire’s backpack (he is nearly 5 now and wears a size 6 to 7 in boys clothing):

  • Deuter Junior pack
  • Whistle
  • Carabiner (for attaching items to pack)
  • Epi-Pen Jr set & carrying case (with medical history inside)
  • Allergy bracelet attached to backpack
  • Thermarest Z sit pad
  • LED headlamp
  • Rain pants
  • Columbia rain jacket
  • Fleece pullover
  • Hat
  • Mittens
  • Sunglasses
  • Snack bag
  • Kleenex
  • Emergency blanket
  • Binoculars
  • Water bottles (not in picture)

In summer:

  • Sun hat
  • Sandals
  • Pack Towel


Both boys carry Black Diamond First Strike trekking poles. I also pack in waterproof lightweight guides, on flowers, animals, scat, clouds and more. They also make a great surface to eat on, keeping lunch time less dirt enriched.

Yes, it might seem odd that a 4-year-old carries a set of Epi-Pens. However, I carry a set as well in my first aid kit. But when you have the allergy levels he does, you don’t mess around. If something happened to my pack, I want to know there is a backup. As well, he carries his allergen information twice in his pack – if something were to happen to me, or he get separated, I would want ZERO chance of a helpful person feeding him peanuts or nuts!

As for their snacks, I carry items I know they like. As long as it is single serving, it works well. With Alistaire we carry brands we know are safe for him. If on a longer day, I carry lunch in my pack for everyone.

I don’t use bug spray on the children, nor on me. I use a Buzz Off spray I make myself. As for sunscreen, the boys usually hike in long sleeves and full hats at altitude. If I do use it on them, it is Aveno. Alix cannot handle most brands, and they cause eczema outbreaks or worse, hives. I get hives with most sunscreens as well.

2 thoughts on “What Our Boys Carry In Their Backpacks

  1. On your recipe for Buzz-Off spray, when you say 60-80 drops of essential oils, are you saying 60-80 of each oil or 60-80 total divided between the four oils listed? Thanks

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